Damian Green and th...
 
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Damian Green and the forensic/ethical maze

pbeardmore
(@pbeardmore)
Active Member

Obviously I dont want to go into the specifics but it does bring up issues that are rarely discussed. I am sure many of us have seen material that, whilst not criminal, would represent issues that either have to be dealt with by the employer, ignored or "tidied under the carpet". The issue of "public interest" brings in a whole new ball game. I have no answers but it's worth discussing?
What should surely we all agree on is how to deal with notes taken when reviewing cases once a member of the team retires?

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Topic starter Posted : 04/12/2017 10:41 am
benfindlay
(@benfindlay)
Active Member

Obviously I dont want to go into the specifics but it does bring up issues that are rarely discussed. I am sure many of us have seen material that, whilst not criminal, would represent issues that either have to be dealt with by the employer, ignored or "tidied under the carpet". The issue of "public interest" brings in a whole new ball game. I have no answers but it's worth discussing?
What should surely we all agree on is how to deal with notes taken when reviewing cases once a member of the team retires?

In an ideal world, yes, absolutely. Unfortunately though it's not that simple.

The issue here, to my eyes is that police officers make notes in pocket books which they may (or indeed may not!) typically take home/out and about with them. As a former police staff investigator, I didn't maintain a pocket book, and any notes made were left 'on the desk' (so to speak) during cases, and filed away as part of the paper case-file (or digitised and hard copy destroyed) when the job was done.

I simply wouldn't even consider taking any notes home with me because of the sensitive/distressing etc. nature of what could be in them (the obvious exception being if I had to go straight to court the next morning without visiting the office first, but even then I'd rather they got to the court the day before so I could collect them upon arrival).

There's no way I'd want a family member to stumble across that, never mind the potential sensitive/confidential information which might be present!

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Posted : 04/12/2017 2:07 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Obviously I dont want to go into the specifics but it does bring up issues that are rarely discussed. I am sure many of us have seen material that, whilst not criminal, would represent issues that either have to be dealt with by the employer, ignored or "tidied under the carpet". The issue of "public interest" brings in a whole new ball game. I have no answers but it's worth discussing?
What should surely we all agree on is how to deal with notes taken when reviewing cases once a member of the team retires?

Without going into the specifics maybe you could provide some context.

You mean the Damian Green that is now accused of sexual harassment

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/04/damian-green-harassed-woman-lied-tory-modernisers-may-deputy

and - rather vaguely I have to say - of viewing thousands of pornographic images?

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/01/damian-green-thousands-of-pornographic-images-on-computer-says-detective

There is no Law in the UK (yet) that I know of about viewing pornographic images (as long as - admittedly - they are not pedopornography), for all that it matters they could have been lolcats or nice videos of drones.

The poor Mr. Lewis ( a trained professional police officer and digital investigator) was so shocked and outraged by the admittedly non-extreme pornographic material

that it took him only 8 (eight) years to come out with the news, in an attempt to support statements allegedly coming from another former police officer, Mr.Quick
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/04/damian-green-denies-pornography-was-found-on-his-commons-computer

This is not how whistleblowing, i.e. revealing confidential matters that are debatable from an ethical standpoint and that may represent "public interest" (which may have its merits) works, it is plain badmouthing an individual (no matter if the whole thing is true or not), and something to be seriously frown at by the LE forensics community.

It's nothing different from a breach of confidentiality by a doctor, a lawyer or a confessor.

jaclaz

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Posted : 04/12/2017 2:31 pm
minime2k9
(@minime2k9)
Active Member

There is no Law in the UK (yet) that I know of about viewing pornographic images (as long as - admittedly - they are not pedopornography), for all that it matters they could have been lolcats or nice videos of drones.

Luckily there are no laws about politicians lying to the public either.

This is not how whistleblowing, i.e. revealing confidential matters that are debatable from an ethical standpoint and that may represent "public interest" (which may have its merits) works, it is plain badmouthing an individual (no matter if the whole thing is true or not), and something to be seriously frown at by the LE forensics community.

It's nothing different from a breach of confidentiality by a doctor, a lawyer or a confessor.

jaclaz

I'm not so sure, this is in response to an allegation which he has denied, is it in the public interest to know when a politician is lying to the general public? Much as I understand that you know politicians are lying when they start talking.

Doctors and lawyers all hold specific confidentiality agreements which are known, however how many ex-police officers go on documentaries to talk about past cases, especially high profile ones and do not seem to be bound by such rules. It wouldn't constitute an offence under the official secrets act either.

That said I was slightly more disturbed by the admittance that they all share passwords…

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Posted : 04/12/2017 3:25 pm
PaulSanderson
(@paulsanderson)
Senior Member

I was interested to read that they were all thumbnails, no reference in the reporting that I have seen that he went on to view any of them in their larger format! I would like to think that if the police took the time to determine that emails were being sent at the same time that they would also take the time to see if he (or whoever was at the machine -assuming no remote access/trojans/etc.) actually did anything with these pages of images.

Given the timing this does smack of an orchestrated political 'leak'.

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Posted : 04/12/2017 4:05 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Doctors and lawyers all hold specific confidentiality agreements which are known, however how many ex-police officers go on documentaries to talk about past cases, especially high profile ones and do not seem to be bound by such rules. It wouldn't constitute an offence under the official secrets act either.

Well. one thing is to talk over past cases (gone to court and where the justice procedure has ended, one way or the other) and another one is talking about not-cases, actually potentially creating new cases or (as also often happens, maybe not in the UK ? ) talking about cases that are yet to go to court.

This seems all in all, something very similar to the good ol' story "The Bookkeeper" by Roald Dahl, in this case it is not direct blackmail, but very close to it (again no matter if true or not).

jaclaz

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Posted : 04/12/2017 4:34 pm
benfindlay
(@benfindlay)
Active Member

It wouldn't constitute an offence under the official secrets act either.

I am most certainly not a lawyer, but I have to ask if this is definitely the case? In usual situations, these cases have been through court, meaning their particulars are now a matter of public record surely?

In this particular case however, these matters have not been through that same process to my knowledge/understanding, so wouldn't that change things?

That said I was slightly more disturbed by the admittance that they all share passwords…

Oh yes, now this is indeed terrifying!

Ben

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Posted : 05/12/2017 5:48 pm
minime2k9
(@minime2k9)
Active Member

I am most certainly not a lawyer, but I have to ask if this is definitely the case? In usual situations, these cases have been through court, meaning their particulars are now a matter of public record surely?

In this particular case however, these matters have not been through that same process to my knowledge/understanding, so wouldn't that change things?

From Official Secrets Act

4 Crime and special investigation powers.

(1)A person who is or has been a Crown servant or government contractor is guilty of an offence if without lawful authority he discloses any information, document or other article to which this section applies and which is or has been in his possession by virtue of his position as such.

(2)This section applies to any information, document or other article—
(a)the disclosure of which—
(i)results in the commission of an offence; or
(ii)facilitates an escape from legal custody or the doing of any other act prejudicial to the safekeeping of persons in legal custody; or
(iii)impedes the prevention or detection of offences or the apprehension or prosecution of suspected offenders; or
(b)which is such that its unauthorised disclosure would be likely to have any of those effects.

As the information provided would not fall into anything in category a, there would be no offence.

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Posted : 05/12/2017 7:58 pm
benfindlay
(@benfindlay)
Active Member

From Official Secrets Act

4 Crime and special investigation powers.

(1)A person who is or has been a Crown servant or government contractor is guilty of an offence if without lawful authority he discloses any information, document or other article to which this section applies and which is or has been in his possession by virtue of his position as such.

(2)This section applies to any information, document or other article—
(a)the disclosure of which—
(i)results in the commission of an offence; or
(ii)facilitates an escape from legal custody or the doing of any other act prejudicial to the safekeeping of persons in legal custody; or
(iii)impedes the prevention or detection of offences or the apprehension or prosecution of suspected offenders; or
(b)which is such that its unauthorised disclosure would be likely to have any of those effects.

As the information provided would not fall into anything in category a, there would be no offence.

Interesting, thanks for the information. So no offence under that section, but is section 4 the only section that a police officer is bound by? I ask as, looking at some of the other sections, it seems to imply (or at least my reading is) that you can be notified as being subject to other sections. I'm curious as to which sections are listed on the paper you sign when you start/leave employment with a police force (I certainly can't remember any specifics myself).

Also, given at least one of the officers in question (who have disclosed information) are reported as having worked in counter-terrorism, then wouldn't it be likely that they would be subject to other sections, e.g. Security & Intelligence and/or Defence?

Ben

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Posted : 05/12/2017 8:36 pm
minime2k9
(@minime2k9)
Active Member

Interesting, thanks for the information. So no offence under that section, but is section 4 the only section that a police officer is bound by? I ask as, looking at some of the other sections, it seems to imply (or at least my reading is) that you can be notified as being subject to other sections.

Also, given at least one of the officers in question (who have disclosed information) are reported as having worked in counter-terrorism, then wouldn't it be likely that they would be subject to other sections, e.g. Security & Intelligence and/or Defence?
Ben

The first 4 sections deal with what are unauthorized disclosures. They have similar functions in that they require the information disclosed to be of potential use to attacker/criminal/foreign government etc.

The wording is the disclosure has to be "damaging", as described below

For the purposes of subsection (3) above a disclosure is damaging if—
(a)it causes damage to the work of, or of any part of, the security and intelligence services; or
(b)it is of information or a document or other article which is such that its unauthorised disclosure would be likely to cause such damage or which falls within a class or description of information, documents or articles the unauthorised disclosure of which would be likely to have that effect.

I'm curious as to which sections are listed on the paper you sign when you start/leave employment with a police force (I certainly can't remember any specifics myself).

Oddly, this is law so everyone is actually bound by it it but it only applies to certain people. The "signing" is really a reminder of your duties under the act. I think I've "signed" on about 10 times.

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Posted : 05/12/2017 8:53 pm
benfindlay
(@benfindlay)
Active Member

The wording is the disclosure has to be "damaging", as described below

For the purposes of subsection (3) above a disclosure is damaging if—
(a)it causes damage to the work of, or of any part of, the security and intelligence services; or
(b)it is of information or a document or other article which is such that its unauthorised disclosure would be likely to cause such damage or which falls within a class or description of information, documents or articles the unauthorised disclosure of which would be likely to have that effect.

How delightfully broad! Would I therefore be right in thinking that "any part of" would seemingly include things like reputational damage? I also wonder how broad/vague the definition of "damage" might be interpreted as being.

Co-incidentally, I just tried to access the Parliamentary page on the Official Secrets Act (http//researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7422) and am receiving a "Server Error". Someone pass me my tin foil hat. wink

It's also interesting to see what the media have reported regarding Cressida d**k's comments on the matter of prosecutions of the officers involved. Time will tell, I suppose!

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Posted : 06/12/2017 8:54 am
minime2k9
(@minime2k9)
Active Member

I'm not quite sure what they would prosecute them under.
If he were serving a police officer then I could imagine there would be things that they could charge them with.
As a retired officer, I'm not sure what legislation they would use

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Posted : 06/12/2017 9:44 am
pbeardmore
(@pbeardmore)
Active Member

"and which is or has been in his possession by virtue of his position as such."

Surely this means that the information leaked has to be true? How can you be in possession of material that did not exist?

So any charges brought under this act would clearly imply that the leak was actually correct in its claim?

Also, it should be noted that Green has been very specific in discussing what he did rather than make specific claims re the actual PC. Thus leaving available the "shared password defence" IF it is established that this material was on the PC..

Ironically, the initial raid was concerning leaks from his office so the possibility that passwords were shared (if thats true) within his office is of direct concern?

All interesting stuff.

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Topic starter Posted : 06/12/2017 12:59 pm
keydet89
(@keydet89)
Community Legend

What should surely we all agree on is how to deal with notes taken when reviewing cases once a member of the team retires?

Ha! No one takes notes during case work.

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Posted : 06/12/2017 3:44 pm
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